The late Pope John Paul II was stabbed by a priest in Portugal in 1982, almost one year to the day after the shooting attempt on his life in St. Peter’s Square, according to a new film. The revelation appears in Testimony, which premiered October 16 in Rome, to an audience that included Pope Benedict XVI. The stabbing occurred May 12, 1982, in Fatima, Portugal, when John Paul was attacked by an ultratraditionalist Spanish priest, Juan Maria Fernández Krohn, who opposed the reforms of the Second Vatican Council. John Paul was in Fatima on a pilgrimage to thank the Madonna of the famous shrine there for sparing his life after Mehmet Ali Agca of Turkey shot him on May 13, 1981. Until the appearance of the new film, which is based on a memoir by the late pontiff’s longtime secretary Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, it was believed that John Paul had escaped from the second incident unscathed. Dziwisz said the attack left John Paul bloodied but able to continue with his normal activities.
Former Finnish president Martti Ahtisaari, an active Lutheran who was named the 2008 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, was praised for his work in conflict resolution. In 1990, Ahtisaari played “a key role in supporting the emergence of Namibia as a free and sovereign nation,” said Ishmael Noko, the general secretary of the Lutheran World Federation. Ahtisaari was the UN special commissioner for Namibia in southern Africa from 1977 to 2001. He was also a UN special envoy for Kosovo, the predominantly ethnic Albanian province of Serbia, which declared independence in early 2008.
Francis B. Sayre Jr., former dean of Washington National Cathedral (Episcopal) from 1951 to 1978, died October 3 at his home in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. He was 93. Sayre was an outspoken voice of conscience during the Joseph McCarthy era, the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War. The grandson of President Woodrow Wilson, Sayre was born in the White House in 1915 to Francis B. Sayre and Jessie Wilson Sayre.